With less than two weeks left in the Qatar Total Open 2021, the numbers of confirmed stars for the WTA Tour Premier event continue to grow as Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur - the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament - entered the main draw of the elite tournament.
The tournament will be held from March 1 to 6 at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha.
Aside from the 26-year-old World No. 30 Jabeur, the highest-ranked Arab player in WTA history, two-time champion and World No. 13 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 2016 finalist Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, Egypt’s Mayar Sherif are joining the event as wildcard entrants.
In all, a total of 32 players, including four qualifiers, are expected to feature in the singles event of the $565,530 total prize purse tournament, while 16 teams will slug it out in the doubles.
For the qualifiers, Qatar’s Mubaraka Al Naimi, who made her WTA main draw debut at the 2017 Qatar Total Open in the doubles draw partnering Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman, will be attempting to book her first entry into the main draw.
The 19-year-old Al Naimi is Qatar’s highest-ranked player and an inspiration for many upcoming players across the country. She is the defending champion of the Qatar Rail Tennis Open Tournament.
Also featuring in the qualifying rounds are Al Nabhani and Algeria’s Ines Ibbou and Cagla Buyukakcay from Turkey.
Al Nabhani is one of the most successful players from the region, having won ten singles titles and 13 doubles titles on the ITF Circuit. On October 4, 2010, she reached her best singles ranking of world No. 362. On April 28, 2014, she peaked at No. 238 in the doubles rankings.
She was the gold medalist at the 2011 Pan Arab Games in Doha. Al Nabhani made her WTA Tour main-draw debut at the 2009 Dubai Tennis Championships, having received a wild card with Magali de Lattre in the doubles tournament, but they lost to Chan Yung-jan and Sun Tiantian in the first round. Playing for Oman at the Fed Cup, Al Nabhani has a win-loss record of 13–7.
“We are delighted with the increasing numbers of stars who have confirmed their participation at the Qatar Total Open 2021. The strength of this year’s field, which includes eight of the world’s top-ten, is an indication of the quality of play to be expected at the week-long event. We look forward to another exciting time on the courts of the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in about two weeks,” said Tournament Director Saad Al Mohannadi.
The WTA Tour event, held since 2001, has grown to become one of the signature events on the WTA Tour calendar and a most sought-after tournament in the region.